Enterprise service management – “the use of IT service management (ITSM) principles and capabilities in other business areas to improve performance, service, and outcomes” – has now achieved a level of corporate adoption such that it can no longer be considered an ITSM fad. What started out as the use of the corporate ITSM tool by another business function – such as human resources (HR) – is now so much more. And, importantly, enterprise service management is not just about ITSM tool reuse.
Instead, it’s about improving business operations and outcomes, and therefore, needs to be a business-change initiative, not simply an IT project. After all, if the money being spent on technology is not improving or protecting the business, then why is that money being spent?
Enterprise Service Management Success is Highly-Dependent on People
Enterprise service management is also a people-change initiative – by virtue of it changing ways of working – a similarity it has with digital transformation.
And as such, it needs a healthy investment in organizational change management (which is something that some “vanilla” ITSM tool implementations would benefit from too). Because, sadly, as commonly seen in technology-focused projects, there’s often insufficient attention paid to the part that people play in change success, or conversely, how people can derail the change through resistance.
Common Causes of People-Change-Related Issues
There are a number of people-change-related issues that could potentially arise, and which can often be both anticipated and better managed/mitigated. Causes tend to be one or more of:
Little or no focus on achieving stakeholder buy-in – with a distinct lack of stakeholder involvement, including those expected to adopt the ITSM capabilities in the other business functions.
Irregular and insufficient communication about the change and its impact – this is communication of what, why, how, when, where, and whom of enterprise service management (or back-office digital transformation for that matter).
Insufficient support for the change – which might include no, or minimal, education and support on what will essentially be a brand-new way of working for the people in other business functions.
All of these causes, and potentially others, need to be considered and addressed through the investment in organizational change management tools and techniques.
“Organizational Change Management? Never Heard of It!”
The term might be new to you, but its profile has been growing within ITSM.
“Whether the improvement is being driven via change management, project management, program management or any other approach, organizational change management is not to be seen as an additional framework. It is an integral part of each of those approaches and it underpins every improvement initiative.”
Together with 20-plus pages of organizational change management advice, tips and a toolkit chapter.
Now ITIL 4 has included organizational change management as one of its 34 management practices (and one of the 14 general management practices), stating that:
“The purpose of the organizational change management practice is to ensure that changes in an organization are smoothly and successfully implemented, and that lasting benefits are achieved.”
Hopefully, organizational change management’s time has come from both an ITSM change and enterprise service management adoption perspective.
The Bottom Line for Enterprise Service Management Success
Organizational change management effort is needed to elicit the right – and required – behavioral change, with employees understanding the “What’s in it for me?” they require on their journey to fully embracing enterprise service management and the benefits it brings.
Having no, or limited, investment in organizational change management is not likely to derail the “implementation” of your ITSM technology in another business function. What it will do, however, is potentially prevent the people within the other business function being fully committed to the change, with an understanding of the role they need to play going forward. It’s sub-optimal enterprise service management adoption at best.